'Why I need help, and a hug, from Stacey Solomon'

A sheepskin Womble, old exercise books and a moth-eaten scarf from Deborah Hall's schooldays
A sheepskin Womble, old exercise books and a moth-eaten scarf from Deborah Hall's schooldays -Credit:Deborah Hall/Hull Live

Lifting the lid on a forgotten “treasure” trove of childhood souvenirs you might think would be quite a sweet experience but for me it’s become something of a Pandora’s Box.

The collection of innocently stashed mementoes has sparked a reaction that only decluttering queen Stacey Solomon might be able to save me from. I need that big, reassuring smile, an even bigger hug and some kindly-meant but stern words of encouragement to basically: “Ditch the lot!”

A sad but necessary clear-out of my parental home has revealed some carefully-preserved stuff I’d all but obliterated from my memory. Now I’m suddenly reacquainted with it, why am I having such trouble deciding what to do with it?


It can hardly matter that much, can it, if I wasn’t even aware I’d kept that stub from my first ever plane ticket (to the former Yugoslavia) just after I’d turned 13? While I am delighted I have unearthed the silver bracelet bearing my star sign that my aunt gifted to me when I was a bridesmaid for her at the tender age of three (I had wondered where that went) I am less enamoured with the icing decoration - once a lovely flourish on my sister’s wedding cake when I was again a bridesmaid, aged 15 - languishing, brown and distinctly less lovely, in a piece of tissue paper.

Then there was the once brightly-coloured, now mouldering, wing feather from a dear-departed pet budgie (I kid you not) and a couple of cocktail sticks in the shape of the Post Office Tower, as London’s BT Tower was known, from when I was treated to a visit to its unique revolving restaurant. Only a couple of months back it was reported that the new owner of the said tower is intent on turning it into a hotel and may indeed reinstate that slowly-spinning 360-degree dining experience – maybe it is worth hanging onto those plastic-pronged relics in case they are collectable?

Stacey Solomon - Sort Your Life Out S2
Where's Stacey Solomon when I need her? -Credit:BBC/Optomen TV/James Stack

But what to do with the piles of exercise books from my early years at Bridlington High School for Girls (also now consigned to history) that were at the back of another cupboard? I didn’t keep anything from my two A-Level years (I distinctly remember imploring my late dad to “burn everything!”) but re-reading those tentative first English essays by the 11-year-old me and discovering a drawing of a cross-section of a wormery, which won approval from an often difficult-to-please biology teacher, has sent me right down a wormhole.

I think it’s like rediscovering parts of a long-lost me – in the case of the long ponytail cut from my formerly waist-length hair it actually IS part of me – and I feel like I’d be throwing away my past with those now bothersome belongings. It’s that emotional pull that’s holding me back, I guess, not the objects themselves, and the fact they once held importance because of the (now resurfacing) memories attached to them.

I’m sure Stacey would repeat her oft-repeated mantra, to me: “Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?” Mostly the answer’s no, then. I think I need to bid farewell to sentiment and grab a bin bag.